Our goal is to help you gain clarity and peace of mind in
deciding whether to move forward toward engagement and marriage!
We (Eric and Heather) have each earned accredited master’s degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and have served clients since 2008. We have found that the *best* time to get relationship counseling is *before* the decision to become married has been made. Once that decision has been made, and announced to family and friends, a mental permanence that this other person *is* going to be my future spouse is birthed and is difficult to change – even when signs point in an opposite direction. Instead, we have found it is better for a couple to go through a pre-engagement counseling process with the person he or she is seriously considering marriage, but to whom he or she is not yet engaged.
We have developed a comprehensive, well-tested, four-month, Biblically-based curriculum for those who are dating and/or looking to get married. Our curriculum will help you learn to understand your relational differences, resolve current issues, and give you a forecast of what lies ahead for you both – in both the joys and the difficulties – so that you can prepare now for when they come and even learn to avoid the obstacles altogether! (How much would that be worth to you?)
The following contains common questions you may have about the pre-engagement counseling process. If you have any questions that are not addressed, please contact us and let us know!
- Do you use Biblical principles?
Our curriculum is based on Biblical principles. We believe that the institution of marriage was created by God to glorify God. Since He created it, we believe that no one knows how to make marriages successful better than Him. He shows us how to have successful marriages in His Word. We assist by making God’s principles for marriage applicable for biblically-defined relationships.
- Have your other clients been successful in their relationships?
We have enjoyed watching many of our couples grow in just a short time. We’ve worked with clients dealing with issues of communication, trust, financial insecurity, anger and intense relational doubt and have seen them grow tremendously in the short time we worked with them. Many of the couples with whom we have worked are currently enjoying successful marriages, others are in the process of planning their weddings, and others have a more healthy dating relationship.
Though, to be fair, a handful of our couples have decided to end their relationship as a result of the program. However, we also consider this a success. If our program shines light into a relationship which has difficulty overcoming differences and they see that the relationship will not likely work well long-term, we are helping to prevent a future divorce. Couples who have broken up, though a painful experience, have also thanked us for our services in helping them to understand their relational realities.
- What have your other clients said about your services?
We have both video and written testimonials gathered from several clients throughout the years we have been helping couples.
- Time commitment / How much out of session time will this require?
You will never leave the session wondering how to implement what you have learned. Each week we give specific, useful assignments to our couples to help them put the principles they have learned into practice. Some clients have spent half an hour each on these assignments while others have spent several hours. The more effort you put into completing the assignments, the more you will gain from them. Usually the assignments are not extremely time consuming and often fit easily into daily life/routine. We do not assign busy work; we will only give practical assignments that will benefit you now and in the future. We recommend keeping your completed assignments for reflection and nostalgia.
- Can the curriculum be personalized?
We have specific topics that we are sure to cover based on the program; however, as we work through the curriculum, client concerns often come up and we want to thoroughly address each area of need. No two couples are exactly alike and our goal is to help each couple know themselves and each other better. This usually requires that we spend more time on certain topics than others.
Sometimes, we find that an issue either tangents too far from the material we are discussing or the time needed to completely explore the topic is greater than the time allotted. In those cases, we are open to scheduling additional sessions. The couple can either request the additional session(s) or we may suggest that the additional sessions be scheduled due to our experience in counseling with pre-engagement couples.
- Why should we get counseling before we are engaged? We plan to seek premarital counseling once we are engaged.
We strongly recommend going through the counseling process before committing to each other through engagement. We have found that once a couple is engaged, there are certain topics the couple is not as comfortable discussing for fear that it may take away from the happiness of the engagement period. The period of engagement can be so much more freeing once the counseling is past and the issues have been discussed and resolved.
Our pre-engagement clients have made comments that they were so happy to get to the root of their problems early so they could resolve before entering into a season of engagement. Even our clients who did not feel they have relational issues found issues they needed to work on and were thrilled to enter engagement with the right relationship and tools to make their relationship a life-long success.
- Our friends think we’re crazy for seeking counseling before engagement. Can you tell us why you consider pre-engagement counseling so important?
If your friends think you are crazy, it is probably because they have not heard of many (or any) people going through relational counseling before engagement. Some believe that going to counseling is a sign of weakness; however, in the case of pre-engagement counseling, the counseling is preventative, not corrective.
The process of marriage does not begin at the wedding; rather, it begins when a couple decides to become engaged. Once a couple is engaged, they are thrown into a whirlwind of decisions – where to live, when and where to have the wedding, how much to spend on the wedding, etc. At this crazy and blissful time, premarital counseling is often another item on the “wedding to do” list instead of a meaningful process. Beginning the counseling process before engagement can ensure that important issues are covered before you both become engrossed in wedding planning, venue hunting, dress buying, cake making, and invitation sending.
- I’m ready to get engaged, but my boyfriend/girlfriend is not. Should we seek counsel to work through this disagreement?
When a person is ready to be married often has to do with age, maturity level, level of personal responsibility, and ability to unconditionally serve one’s spouse. If you have been together for more than a year and this is a disagreement you have had for a considerable amount of time, you may want to seek counsel to see if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend can get to the root issue of why he or she is shying away from marriage.
- We’ve read every relationship book on the market. How can you tell us things we don’t already know?
Counseling is not simply instructing or teaching. We could give you a lot of helpful facts to tuck away, but instead we will engage you in a number of processes that will help put those ideas into practical daily use. Past clients have informed us that the materials we assigned are good; yet, the personal counseling was the main process which helped their relationships and, later, marriages.
- We are young and plan to become engaged in a few years. Is it too early for pre-engagement counseling?
We recommend pre-engagement counseling once you are seriously considering engagement or if you are having significant difficulties in your relationship you want to work through before considering engagement.
- We have only been together a few months and we are having struggles. Do you recommend pre-engagement counseling?
We would recommend giving your relationship at least six months before seeking pre-engagement counseling unless you are planning to marry before a year of dating is completed.
- We are living together, but are not engaged yet. Since we are living together and see each other on a daily basis, do we still need pre-engagement counseling?
Research has shown that couples who cohabitate before marriage have an 80% higher divorce rate than those who did not. Pre-engagement counseling will still be beneficial, but know that our advice will be based upon God’s Word (which does not endorse cohabitation). We would advise you to stop cohabitating and return to healthy pre-marriage behavior until marriage and can explain why in session.
- We have broken up a few times, but we are back together now and really want to make the relationship work. Should we attend pre-engagement counseling, or wait until we are engaged to seek counsel?
Continuing to break up and get back together is a strong, negative pattern in a relationship. We strongly recommend seeking counsel before marrying to work through why either, or both, of you are not dealing with and resolving whatever the real issues are.
- My boyfriend/girlfriend and I have been struggling for a long time and we are ready to call it quits. Should we consider pre-engagement counseling before making our final decision?
If you want to give your relationship every possible advantage, we would recommend counseling. Pre-engagement counseling is not designed to help couples find reasons to stay together. Pre-engagement counseling is designed to help couples look at their relationships from different perspectives so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to pursue engagement. It is easier to work through issues when an objective party helps bring the issues to light and provides mediation for working through problems.
- We’re having trouble. Can we address those issues or is this lecture-style counseling?
These sessions are interactive, not lectures. We will work with you and teach you how to work together in various areas. If you are having trouble in your relationship, we will address those issues within the time allotted or recommend additional sessions. We want you to be successful in life and will help you work through your relational difficulties.
- Will you be using any tests or assessments?
Yes! We use the Psychological Audit of Interpersonal Relationship (PAIR) Test and other personality testing measures. Other assessments may be added, if applicable for the package selected.
- What do we need to have available for the sessions?
If you are writing your notes on paper, we recommend having a 1 inch 3 ring binder to keep session notes and assignments organized. We also recommend purchasing tab dividers for your binder (8 tabs, one for each session/week). You should bring this binder (along with your printed, completed assignments) to every session.
You may also elect to keep your notes digitally on the electronic method of your choice. You will also need to be able to access completed assignments in session.
- My boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t want to come. How can I convince him (or her)?
It is not uncommon to be apprehensive about discussing personal issues with others. While discussing the topic of pre-engagement counseling with your boyfriend/girlfriend, find out why he or she is reluctant to engage in this process. If he or she is ultimately unwilling to consider pre-engagement counseling, this may also provide insight into his or her willingness to address problems in your relationship and future marriage.
- Are we too young to get married?
Studies show that the divorce rate for people marrying at 21 or 22 years of age is 40%- 50% higher than for people marrying at 25 years of age and 80% higher than for people marrying at 28 years of age or older. This does not mean that everyone who marries before the age of 25 is doomed, but if you are younger than 25, it is strongly recommended that you and your boyfriend/girlfriend seek counsel – and be open to input – before deciding to marry.
- How much does the premarital counseling program cost?
As we have learned a lot over the decade we’ve been working with couples, we discovered it was time to revamp our offerings to serve you more powerfully; so, we have upgraded our coaching packages. We’ll be serving you more deeply, providing more materials, and working with you for a longer period of time. These elements, along with our years of experience, allow us to create a premium, life-transforming experience for you! Our clients (under our previous packages *and* our new packages) have told us they believed the cost of our services was easily worth what they gained through the process – not just for the immediate relational benefits, but for the lifetime application of principles learned. We look forward to helping you build a solid foundation for your future.
In order to determine the cost of the package, we will first meet with both of you in a free consultation. In this meeting, we will ask you some questions to gain a better understanding of your needs so we can create a customized package which is right for you. We aim to work with couples who will invest their time, energy, and finances into gaining clarity and peace about the direction and future of their relationship. When you make this substantial commitment, you can expect to learn a great deal about yourself, each other, and your unique relationship, resulting in a life-transforming experience.
If you would like us to contact you for a free enrollment conversation, please fill out the PreEngaged Counseling intake form (linked below; both you and your sweetheart should each fill out your own) and we will get in touch with you two!
- We want to prepare for a healthy marriage and avoid problematic relational potholes! We’ve read and understand the above and we’re ready! How do we work with you?
Each person in the couple needs to fill out our online PreEngaged Counseling intake form. Once we receive both of your intakes, we will be in touch with you and will look forward to working with you! Again, if you have any questions which are not addressed above, please contact us!